Troops Disembarking From a Steamer Postcard

This week’s postcard depicts a group of soldiers parading on the quayside after disembarking from a steamer:

The men are dressed in khaki drill and pith helmets:

By contrast they are being inspected by members of the diplomatic corps, who are dressed in white parade uniforms:

The steamer itself can be seen in the background and this seems to be a small vessel, perhaps carrying both freight and passengers. It has a single funnel and seems far smaller than one would expect for a troop ship:

The ship’s officers can be seen, again dressed in white, on the bridge:

Landing in a new country from a ship could be a dizzying experience, here William Pennington describes landing from a steamer in India:

Aboard the ship we troops were assembling, glad that the journey was over. I was full of excitement as I dragged my kit-bag to the landing deck, wearing my Wolseley helmet, to protect me from the blazing sun which, even at nine in the morning, was casting its heat and brilliance everywhere…

And, as we took our first step on the gangway, we were already bathed in sweat and feeling the discomfort we would come to know so well. The stentorian voices of those in command, both aboard and ashore, were clearly heard above the bedlam of noises, as were the martial tunes played by the Royal Artillery band as it marched the length of the docks with its measured tread. Beyond the activities alongside the ship stood the troop-train, black smoke rising from the funnel. It’s drabness was punctuated only by the flashes of colourful headwear and the dress of the bandsmen.

My walk down the gangway added but a few more steps to the countless thousands which had been made by the soldiers of the British Empire since 1857 and the days of the East India Company. I was to join the garrison of some sixty thousand who were presently stationed in India to keep order in the country and to provide protection from potential invaders…

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